Archive for February, 2011

The One Where I Tell You About Me (Sorta)

Recently, a friend of mine asked for volunteers to read something she wrote and give their opinion on it. I volunteered, but she politely refused my help, stating I was “too nice”. The “too nice” statement didn’t actually upset me at all, but it did nag at my brain a bit. How can being too nice be grounds for exclusion? I became sort of fascinated with that line of thinking. I mean, just because I’m nice doesn’t mean I won’t be honest in my opinions. I’m sure she was probably just thinking that because I’m so damn nice, my opinion for her would be something similar to “you are a big meanie”. But see, I don’t think that would have held true. I would have given her an opinion on her writing, not her content. Her content is her choice. Whether it was easy to follow, flowed good, was coherent, etc. – that I could have given an opinion on. I pondered over this for a few minutes and decided I didn’t like being too nice for her needs. She was my friend and I wanted to be able to help her out when she asked for it. I noticed she was available on gtalk so I spent the next several minutes half-heartedly trying to convince her I was actually an asshole. I’m pretty sure she didn’t buy it because I never did get to read her writing thingy before it was published. But the whole little innocent incident started my brain to thinking about how I’m apparently getting soft in my old age.

The next morning after work (I, unfortunately, work the graveyard shift), as I lay down to go to sleep and snuggled up all warm and cuddly in my bed, I became aware of something I had never really noticed before. My eyes were closed, I felt content and I was smiling like I had just won a million dollars. Smiling. In bed. Fucking happy as a clam in a… how does this saying go?… bucket of … clams?… that are not about to be eaten, that would be bad… a bucket of clams that just fell overboard… no… happy as a clam in a blanket? I was pretty damn happy and clams would have been jealous, let’s just leave it at that. In fact, I have noticed every morning since then that as soon as I get snuggled in and cozy in bed, I have a huge smile spread across my goofy face. So I began paying attention over the next several days and I’ll be damn if I wasn’t happy through 99.9% of everything. When did this sneak up on me? I mean, there are still people I simply don’t care for. There are still things that piss me off. I do still get upset. But I’ve noticed that I always end up laughing (usually at myself, I am my own biggest fan) in just a matter of minutes and that when I speak it comes out all soothing and gentle. It seems I have, indeed, gone soft.

Need more evidence? This weekend I rolled a new toon and I am ridiculously giddy about it. She’s a Dwarf Paladin. Lololol. How hawt is that? Turns out, not very hot at all because Dwarfs just aren’t made to be hot. But she is as cute as a freaking bug and I giggled through 10 levels with her yesterday. In fact, I’ve giggled about her at work all night too. Years ago I swore I’d never roll a Dwarf and now I have one and I’m in love with her.

So, why am I puking sunshine and rainbows all over the interwebz? Because there’s been some debating going on around the blogosphere and it’s led to a bit of drama and some not-so-happy exchanges of comments. And I have read all of it most of it and while I can see where I think some people are more right and some people are more wrong… I just want to say I love you all and I’m glad we live in a time and place where we have the freedoms to express ourselves and exchange ideas and opinions with others. Try not to get too personal with it, keep your self-respect and your respect for each other. And don’t ever stop debating; for that would mean you stopped caring.

Screenshot Saturday

Well here is a great example of what your screen SHOULD NOT look like during a raid. Look at this mess. This screenshot is from June, 2010 and was taken in Ulduar. I cannot believe I didn’t realize how badly my screen looked. I remember it looking this way for a long time before this shot was taken, and for quite a while afterwards. When I became a more serious player towards the end of last year, one of the first things I did was clean this mess up. And I am so glad I did. I don’t happen to have any action shots of my new setup to post right now, but I’ll work on getting one so I can show you guys the difference.

I’ve Been Sick, It’s Made Me Delirious

I have been sick with a sinus infection since late Sunday night and the fever, constant pressure in my head and the buckets of snot that streamed out of my nose (tee hee, sorry for that) kept me from wanting to sit up straight and login to the game. I did not go to the doctor, choosing instead to self-medicate with a cocktail blend of random medicines. I get these types of infections every February/March and October/November. After spending 3 days rotating between 2 different cough syrups and some 12 hour psuedoephedrine pills, I finally got the pressure in my head to clear up and I began feeling a bit better. Which meant that last night I felt like logging in.

However, I’m now wondering if that was a mistake. I spent about 3 hours in-game and I don’t remember much. I do recall doing the Son of Glop quest in Deepholm and flying into walls and objects every time I turned around. I did a bit of AH work and some transmutes. I’m pretty sure I remember picking up apples for the cooking daily. But most of it’s a blur. All I know for sure is I must have been pretty delirious because I apparently tabbed out for several minutes and typed up what I am about to share with you. I really don’t know what part of my medicated brain it came from, but I’m guessing it’s the part of my brain that developed in the 80’s and liked Madonna. I apologize in advance.

Like a Worgen

I made it through Gilneas
Somehow I made it through
But not before the beasts got to me
Now I’m a Worgen too

I have fleas, and huge teeth
You would think this would make me blue
But my fancy top hat
Yeah, my fancy top hat
Is shiny and new

Like a Worgen
Running wild for the very first time
Like a Worgen
I will sniff you, while we’re standing in line…

The One Where Winter Squid Go Bye Bye

Public Service Announcement:

The Oceanographer is a fishing profession achievement introduced with Cataclysm that requires you to catch 33 different saltwater fish. One of those required fish is the Winter Squid. In case you were not aware, the Winter Squid is actually a seasonal fish. It can only be caught during the winter. Once Azeroth’s winter season ends, the Winter Squid will be replaced by Raw Summer Bass. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that Raw Summer Bass is also required for the achievement and can only be caught during the summer.

I am writing this post to alert you: The seasons will change from winter to summer around the March equinox. There is no garauntee it will match our calendar equinox exactly. This leaves you a limited amount of  time to catch a Winter Squid. And it will take some time. The best place to fish for one is Azshara, but there are 4 other zones where the squid might be found. There is also (apparently) certain times of the day where your chances of catching one are increased. For more information about the Winter Squid, check out this El’s Extreme Anglin’ page. Then grab your fishing pole and head to the open waters for some hardcore fishing.

The One Where I QQ About Tree Of Life Form

Yeah, I know. I’m 6 months behind the rest of the world once again. That seems to happen quite frequently around here. It’s not that I’m just now discovering things that everyone else discovered last year, it’s just that this blog is fairly new and tonight is the night I decided to write about it.

Before I begin the crying, I will say that I do understand there are some advantages to being able to heal without shifting into tree form. One of them is that when I’m healing an easy fight, I can throw a damage spell or two in there on the mobs without being shifted out of form and having to shift back into form. Another is that when we pop the ToL cooldown now, regrowth becomes instant cast and wild growth hits more targets, making druids invaluable at healing while running from adds or circles of death on the floor. Also, as a druid I rarely see myself as a night elf. I’m either in laser chicken form doing dps, or swift flight form farming herbs. So now when I heal, I can actually see what I really look like. Unfortunately, this is the exact place where my QQ’ing begins.

I don’t want to see me as a night elf while I’m healing. Why? Because I look like every other freaking toon standing there beside me. Not exactly, of course; different races have different heights and builds, there are different hair styles and colors. Rarely are any of us wearing the exact same armor in every slot. Etc, etc. But as a healer, I don’t actually stare at myself (or the rest of the group) during the action. Instead I have to watch Vuh-do (or Healbot or whatever) and concentrate on clicking there correctly while staring at the health bars of the other players. It is true that I, as the human behind the keyboard, have this thing called peripheral vision and I am able to use that to make sure I move away from adds and don’t stand in black circles on the floor. But I gotta tell ya, that peripheral vision was so much easier to use when all I had to look for out of the side of my eyes was a freaking tree that towered over everyone and had a leafy afro. Now that my peripheral vision has to track me as a night elf… I lose myself sometimes. Maybe I should be ashamed to admit that, but it is what it is. I need to be a tree so I can see me. Hey, that was a nice little rhyming sentence that could easily be chanted. I need to be a tree so I can see me. I need to be a tree so I can see me. If only this were 6 months ago when the rest of the community was voicing their opinion on this subject. I could lead a helluva protest with a chant like that. But I digress. Point is – it made it easier for me to see me. I’m not saying I now have to stop and read the name above my head to find me, I’m just saying it takes more of a quick, direct glance to check my position than it used to. And every little half-second I turn away from Vuh-do, could result in something bad happening.

This is how easy it used to be:

The other major reason I miss the full-time tree form relates to action bars. I used to be able to wander through Azeroth in my night elf form without ever leaving my healing spec. Sure, it wasn’t the most efficient way to do quests… when you have to stop and heal yourself 3 times before you finally kill your target, you’re wasting time and mana. But it could be done. I could do my questing and live my life without ever having to remember to switch to dps spec and then remember to switch back to healing spec when I queued with a group. In my night elf form I could arrange spells on my action bars so that I had both damage and healing spells available to me and I would slowly work my way through fights. Then, when I did enter a dungeon or raid, I could just shift into ToL form and my action bar would change to all of the healing spells and cooldown related things I needed to use for the job. Now that I can’t do that permanent shift, I don’t get that action bar rolling up with the certain spells on it. Now I just keep the same damn action bar I had before I stepped through the swirly portal. Which means either I heal an instance with moonfire and wrath, or I do my questing and kill crocolisks with rejuvenation and nourish. Yes, I do realize there is a way to configure my bars differently and use my mouse wheel to scroll down to one that is hidden until I need it. But I tried doing it that way at first and I rarely remembered to change the bar myself. And I really did try to kill crocolisks with rejuv and nourish. I have my UI setup exactly the way I want it. It’s something I’ve put a lot of work into because it seems that my mind can sometimes work in unconventional ways and a normal setup just doesn’t cut it. So, it was much easier when a shapeshift changed my bars and an un-shapeshift (new word I just invented, run with it) changed them back. Now I actually switch back and forth between dps spec and healing spec a bazillion times a day. Or at least once. Whichever. And no, it doesn’t cost me anything to make that switch… unless you count the number of years my life is being shortened due to the sheer rage I feel that I can’t just shift into tree and get my damn action bar. I used to brag about doing everything in my resto spec (though I only ever bragged to myself because everyone else had a habit of telling me it was not something to brag about, but was actually something I was doing wrong). I never used Boomkin form until sometime in the past year (personally I think the stupid owl/chicken/moose form is way uglier than the tree form was). Now I’m stuck living most of my life in my balance spec (somehow I think this is directly related to the fact that I now use way too many parenthesis in my sentences).

Okay, I apparently had some pent up rage about Tree of Life form that I needed to release. I’m glad I finally got that off my chest.

Screenshot Saturday… on a Sunday

I spent the weekend away from my computer. For the second weekend in a row. Ugh. And I forgot to create my Screenshot Saturday post and queue it up before I left home. Even more ugh. I had only been gone about an hour on Friday before I realized it, but I had no options. It caused me great stress. I’m quite sure it’s going to lead me to writing a post about all the different directions I get torn in. But for now, I’m just gonna toss up my Screenshot Saturday post a day late and hope it’s a one-time occurrence.

Halls Of Origination:

The One Without A Point

I haven’t had a whole lot of time in-game this week. I went out of town over the weekend and I got my 3rd shift schedule all jacked up by doing so. I’ve been trying to spend more time at the gym also and that seems to wear me out a bit. Hopefully I’ll get in better shape soon and won’t be as tired after working out. Then last night I suffered with a horrible headache and didn’t log in at all. Why am I telling you guys all of these boring details? Because I’m using them as an excuse about why I don’t have a real post prepared. Instead, I’m just gonna ramble about a few things and then login and try to get back on track.

I have spent a lot of time farming herbs over the past 2 weeks and since my guild is nowhere near being able to raid, I am able to postpone making flasks for the guild bank. So, after making enough for myself I have been free to sell the herbs and flasks and potions on the AH and make some money. Back in our Wrath days, I kept an average of 3k gold on Elfindale and was excited that I had made it up to 10k right before Cata launched. Now I keep an average of 25k gold on Elfi and I am enjoying figuring out how to increase it. I have become addicted to gold.

Of course, while farming I have had trouble with ninjas. Alas posted On Gathering and Ninjas, A Rant earlier today and I understand completely where she’s coming from. I see people complaining about it in general chat. I see complaints on forums and in blog posts. If everyone hates it, why is it still happening? I have made an effort over the past week or so to stop and help people who are killing mobs near flowers and I make sure I stand way back away from the flower and if they don’t make a move for it after the creature is dead, then I ask them “are you grabbing that flower?”. If they aren’t fighting anything and we both kind of swoop down at the same time, I have a little micro made that has me saying “it’s all yours, friend”. I know it will never really end. People will always ninja. But maybe if we try a little harder to spread the love we can reduce it a bit. Because while some of the ninjas are just people who are assholes, some of them are people who are doing it because it’s been done to them. Let’s smother them with kindness and bring em back around.

Let’s see, what else? Oh, twice this week my NPC scan has gone off alerting me of a rare in the area that I never did find. One was Jadefang in Deepholm. He’s apparently in the cave where you rescue Pebbles, but I couldn’t find him at all. The second time was in Kelp’Thar Forest when I came across Lady LaLa. Never found that one either. I really suck. I did however manage to find the pirate Captain above the surface that was on the Horde ship. I can’t remember his name and the past 5 minutes on google didn’t enlighten me any. But after killing him I got like 80 silver and some gray trash item. Yawn.

I’ve been enjoying the Crown Chemical Co. Battle for the Love Is In The Air holiday. Quick and easy way to make some Justice Points. Which helps since I haven’t ran a dungeon in over a week. Our guild is so small right now and I seem to log in an hour or so too late to get a guild run going. And as you can tell from some of my earlier posts concerning 5-mans, I am hesitant to do a pug for heroics. I guess I should at least be pugging normals. I am more confident with those. Okay, I’ve convinced myself that I’m an idiot and have been missing out on JP’s and experience. I am sorry you guys had to witness that.

Oh, here’s something kind of exciting. I now have the Heartbound Tome (note to self: take the time to figure out how to use WoWhead links in posts). It’s the best in slot for me and I found it on the AH for 14k. After a bit of debating and using Twitter to ask an expert opinion (thank you Keeva) I decided to buy it. I’m so excited.

Well I guess that’s it for now. Time to go do some farming before Grey’s Anatomy comes on. Oh and work on coming up with a real topic for my next post, of course.

5 Ways To Improve Your Game While Off-line

Regardless of how badly we want to, most of us do not get to spend the majority of our lives logged into WoW. Between the normal stuff like family and work, there are also other things such as social obligations, unforeseen emergencies and that stupid thing they call sleep which force us to hop out of Azeroth and back into the real world from time to time. But don’t despair, fellow nerds. It is possible to utilize this time away from the game in such a manner as to improve your quality of play when next you get to log in.

My strategies; let me show you them

1. Read Blogs– The number one, most valuable way to stay on top of your game is to be informed. No matter what faction, race, class or style of play… you should be able to easily find several blogs that have information specific to you and several that are chock full of general news and information about the game. Read them daily, or at least several times a week. The easiest way to do that would be to subscribe to them through Google Reader (or any similar service). The reason is because feed readers almost always make it through the filter at work or school so you can read them on your breaks or between classes. Feed readers also automatically grab the newest posts and keep all your blogs in one place on one page, saving you time by not having to look up bookmarks and flip back and forth between pages. Google Reader is the one I prefer for several reasons: It stays logged in for me because I’m already logged into Gmail and Gtalk AND because it’s a free app on my Android based smart phone, so I can read all my blogs on the go. Finding well-written, regularly updated blogs on WoW topics of interest to you will keep you abreast of any changes that have been made, the newest techniques that have been discovered, etc.

2. Listen to Podcasts – I have to admit, I only recently discovered the value of podcasts. I hadn’t been snubbing them on purpose, I just hadn’t taken the time to notice all of the amazing options they had to offer. Podcasts are one of the most flexible mediums available to us these days. I became instantly addicted to them just a few weeks ago when on a whim, I downloaded a few episodes of Matticast to my iPod and took it to the gym with me. I had always listened to music while working out in the past and at times I would find myself having to adjust the volume level when different songs came on that had been downloaded at different levels, skip past songs I wasn’t in the mood for or just generally tuning the music out until it was just a gentle roar in the background while I miserably counted every step on the treadmill waiting for my torture to be over. But the day I listened to Matticast at the gym was an amazing experience. Because it was people talking, I had to focus in on it more to actually comprehend what was being said. Focusing on the podcast instead of my workout meant that I walked a solid 23 minutes on the treadmill before I ever once glanced down to look at my time or distance. As a fat ass, that is absolutely amazing for me. But that wasn’t the only advantage. Podcasts are almost always recorded with at least 2 or 3 people giving input. That means they are bouncing ideas off of each other, giving thoughts and opinions on the suggestions the other make. It’s a real conversation with opposing or agreeing points of view. That really intensifies the informational value. I now subscribe to a handful of podcasts and I was recently listening to a podcast about how to make gold in-game. The first speaker talked about constantly scanning the AH for a few particular items and learning how to run the market on those items. But his podcast partner had a few counter opinions on why he didn’t think that was the best method. I was totally absorbed. Because of their exchange, I developed my own theories on what may work best for me and in the past week I’ve made about 15k gold with minimal effort.

Podcasts are easy to find, just do a google search for WoW podcasts (you can even specify it to druid podcasts or money-making podcasts, etc.) and start listening. It’s a very flexible way of getting information. You can find dozens and dozens of WoW ones in the iTunes store and subscribe to most of them for free. Then you can set them up to automatically download each new episode as it’s recorded. Once you have a few new ones available, throw them on your iPod or even burn them on cd to listen to in the car… if your car is retarded like mine and still doesn’t have an iPod jack even though it’s only 4 years old. A third option for podcasts is just to simply listen to them through their home webpage. Most of them include an in-page player that is useable through the web filter (at least where I work). Just try to remember you’re not actually listening to a live chat because when you start laughing out loud and talking back to no one, people give you weird looks.

3. Stay in touch with your guildies and other WoW friends – Do you have any idea how huge WoW is on Twitter? HUGE! Once again I am going to have to admit I’m fairly new to the Twitter world; I’ve only been using it for WoW purposes for the past 3 or 4 months. I’ve had an account for over a year, I had just never figured out why I had an account. It wasn’t until I started following my GM (at the time) @KissMyAlas that I realized how cool Twitter could actually be. I immediately downloaded the TweetDeck app on my smart phone and followed people I could see in Alas’ feed. Even though I don’t seem to ever say anything important on my tweets, reading everyone else’s is a constant source of enlightenment and entertainment.

But I’m not just talking about Twitter here. Stay in touch with the people who share your interests. Start a Facebook group page for your guild where you guys can be silly and get to know each other better. Use an instant messaging service to bother your friends stay in touch with friends you’ve made in-game. I prefer GTalk and my handle is roseykrh at gmail dot com. Hit me up. I suck at talking face to face (I’m quite shy) but online I’m awesome. At least in my opinion. Creating bonds like this with people who have the same hobby as you will also strengthen your ties to the game.

4. Jot down notes or to-do lists – This one’s easy. Most of us use this method to make all sorts of things easier in our lives. The less time you spend standing around trying to remember what you needed to do, the more time you spend actually being productive. We write out grocery lists, chore schedules, whose turn it is to pick up the kids at school, etc. It makes perfect sense we should use this same method of efficiency in our WoW lives. If you got new gear in a heroic last night and then immediately logged out, jot down a list of what enchants or gems you need to look for to enhance that new item. If you’re into playing the AH for money, use your free minutes at work to keep track of what exactly you want to buy when you get home. If you have several alts and need to fit in dailies on all of them along with a heroic on your main, write down which dailies are the most important for each character and do them in order of proximity to maximize your time and get the most out of your efforts. It sucks to fly out of Stormwind on your way to Eastern Plaguelands only to realize you forgot to stop by the bank for an important item. It’s a waste of your valuable time to go back and forth multiple times. Write it down and get it all done right the first time.

5. Exercise and nutrition – As I mentioned earlier in this post, I am a fat ass. I am not trying to preach to anyone about exercise and nutrition. I just want to point out a few quick things. For one, the better your diet is the more alert and focused you are. This is a proven fact and it applies to all areas of your life, not just gaming – but it can be extremely important if you are signed up for a raid that may easily last 3 or 4 hours. There are all sorts of discussions on the interwebz about the best raid foods. They need to be quick and easy to pick up and pop in your mouth while at the same time not leaving crumbs or a juice on your fingers or your keyboard. I just want to encourage you all to remember that apples and cheese is an excellent option. Or baby carrots, celery sticks, raw cauliflower, etc. These things are tasty and can make you a better raider. True story.

Now, for the exercise part, let me embarrass myself and tell you the story about why exercise now directly affects my WoW playing. About 10 days ago, I was diagnosed with Patellar Tracking Disorder in both knees. That’s just a technical name for dislocated kneecaps. They are not grossly dislocated and I have not suffered any injuries that have caused this. Both of my kneecaps are being pulled out of the center of my joints and off to the outside of my knees. This is because everyone has two tendons that hold their kneecap in place. One goes from the kneecap to the outside of the knee, the other goes from the kneecap to the inside of the knee. In my case, the outside tendon is way stronger than the inside tendon and as a result is winning an unwanted “tug-o-war” battle resulting in it pulling my kneecap over towards the outside while stretching my weak inner tendon towards it. This causes several things to happen. One being that my inner tendon is being stretched farther than it was meant to go and it hurts. Not only does it hurt when it’s physically bumped or touched, but it hurts anytime my knee is flexed. Try walking, sitting or getting up out of a chair without flexing your knee. The other thing that happens is because my kneecap isn’t sitting in the center of the joint, where a nice little grooved-out channel exists to help it move along the joint smoothly, when my knee is flexed the kneecap is gliding along my bone instead. Sounds awesome, huh? Well it’s not as horrible as it sounds, I guess. I mean I do experience pain and stiffness and tenderness, but it’s not excruciating and can be managed with Aleve, ice packs and keeping my legs straight as much as possible.

The interesting part is what causes this type of disorder. It’s generally seen in two types of people (and no, it’s not fat people Mom!). Athletes sometimes get this condition because their movements may cause the outside of their leg to get over-used, resulting in the outside tendon being too strong. Or, it can happen to people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. I’ll let you figure out for yourself which of these two categories I fall into. I’ve had a desk job for the past 5 years, but since October I have been working 3rd shift so my schedule doesn’t line up with my friends and family as easily anymore and my social life (going shopping with my sister, babysitting my nephew, etc.) has become non-existent; which means I don’t leave my chair at home much. The desk job I currently have is NOT the same job I’ve had for the past 4 years and this new company doesn’t have an exercise room like my last job did. In fact, it’s such a small area there’s nowhere for me to go on my breaks and my 3rd shift schedule is a straight 8 hour shift, so I don’t even get to leave for lunch. I get two 15 minute breaks which I use to eat and try to walk around the cubes a time or two. Top it all off with the fact that my addiction to the game has increased ten-fold since right before the Cata launch and I spend an average of 30 hours a week playing WoW where I used to only spend about 8 and you’ll see how all the conditions have led me to this physical issue(and I haven’t even mentioned that this is the worst winter on record for my part of the world, making me even more housebound than normal). I started an exercise routine at the first of the year because I am ready to lose weight. But now it’s become more about strengthening my leg muscles to reverse the damage and balancing my time being sedentary while playing the game. That is why the exercise and nutrition are mentioned here. You will benefit yourself greatly by simply adding 4 hours of physical activity to your week. It will allow you to enjoy the game longer and not view it as something that has dislocated both of your kneecaps.

So there you have it, 5 little things you can do when you’re not able to login to the game which will improve and enhance your WoW experience. I’m sure most of you die-hards are already doing one or two of these things, but if I’ve given you any new ideas then my purpose has been served. Now I command you to go forth and conquer.